The Widow has all the juicy ingredients; betrayal, sex, deception, religious dogmatism, murder, politics, love and hope. My first SummerWorks Festival show of the season was far from being a disappointment. The well-written script by Amir Al-Azraki had me intrigued, in tears and at the edge of my seat.
Set in post-Saddam Iraq, a widow, Nour (performed by Nessya Dayan), seeks to find love and companionship. She reaches out to her College Professor Samir (performed by Omar Hady) and eventually they have an affair. As the relationship becomes more complex, things also get heated in the Professor’s classroom when the topics of heaven and hell are brought up in reference to the Quran.
I particularly loved how Amir Al-Azraki integrated religion and politics in this love story. There was a lot of depth in his form of storytelling. He challenged us in our own views of the Middle East culture, especially Iraq. As a woman who has lived in the U.A.E., I could relate deeply to the injustices the women characters – Nour and the mother (performed by Christine Aziz) – felt in this play. Amir cleverly brings up sensitive and often taboo topics pertaining to women. Topics such as abortion, desire and female sexuality.
In addition to speaking openly about social and religious issues relating to Iraq, Amir also touches on immigration, refugee and employment issues here in Canada. I loved the reference to Tim Hortons! With the issues of war, discrimination, and injustice being very important topics in the world at the moment, I applaud SummerWorks for including a story in their programming that is very honest and relevant. If you are looking to watch a thought-provoking, powerfully written, well-performed play, I highly recommend the SummerWorks play, The Widow.
The Widow plays at Scotiabank Studio Theatre (6 Noble Street)
Thursday August 7, 7:30pm
Monday August 11, 9:30pm
Wednesday August 13, 5:30pm
Thursday August 14, 10:00pm
Friday August 15, 5:30pm
Saturday August 16, 8:30pm
Sunday August 17, 6:30pm
All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at http://summerworks.ca, By phone by calling the Ticketwise Call Centre at 416-907-0468, in person at the SummerWorks Info Booth – located at The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West) August 5th-17th from 10AM – 7PM (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)